Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Monday, July 07, 2003

Wal-Mart - And A Huge Sex Discrimination Claim

Maybe so big that it shouldn't be certified as a class action for just that reason, or at least that's one of the arguments that Wal-Mart is making according to an article in Fortune, Women vs. Wal-Mart. One story taken from testimony of the chief of Wal-Mart's U.S. stores is telling, both for the view of top management and the difficulty of making it work:
During a meeting last October, Tom Coughlin, the chief of Wal-Mart's U.S. stores, looked out at a room full of division heads and top line managers and saw that something wasn't right. He rearranged the room, asking people to sit by gender and ethnicity so that they could see what he saw: a whole bunch of white men.
Although the company has gone a long way in changing its reputation as an employer, any time you have as many employees as Wal-Mart, there is no way that you are not going to be subject to serious challenge to at least some of your practices on a regular basis. No matter how well intentioned those at the top.

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